This wonderful orchestra has a huge reputation in the world of music and would grace any large scale corporate, charity, or special private event, for that extra touch of extravagant class.
Since the 1980′s, the orchestra has been performing allover Great Britain, abroad and in the major London concert halls. The NSO regularly makes recordings as well as being heavily involved film and TV work, and they are Katherine Jenkins official orchestra for all her live concerts and tours.
The National Symphony Orchestra began in the 1940s, when it was making an average of 10 records a year for DECCA with great artists such as Dr.Malcolm Sargent, Fistoulari, Boyd Neel, Moura Lympany, Clifford Curzon and Ida Haendel. This fine orchestra also recorded the music for many films including the cult film Brief Encounter, and Love Story which contained the famous Cornish Rhapsody.
One of the main things which distinguished the NSO from the other orchestras during the war years was that almost all its musicians were serving in the forces, and therefore unlike the LSO and LPO of the day (who relied on those who were too old or unfit for military service) were composed of young men such as Gareth Morris, Dennis Brain and Norman del Mar. The records made between ’44 and ’46 are considered by experts to be outstanding, especially when compared with pre-war orchestras.
During this time the Leader of the Orchestra was David MacCallum, (father of the star of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and there were many other great names in its ranks, such as Douglas Cameron, Alec Whittaker and James Blades, who describes in his autobiography a notable tour of Switzerland in 1946, culminating in the entire Orchestra being presented (after the performance) to a very impressed Richard Strauss!
During the 1980s the orchestra owed much of its increasing reputation and high standards to Perry Montague-Mason, who was Leader and Managing Director until 2001 and its Artistic Directors Anne Collis and Justin Pearson. Since that time the orchestra has been performing all over the Great Britain, abroad and in the major London concert halls. The NSO has recorded more than 40 complete major classic musicals for THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT RECORDS. These recordings are now being released and are attracting seriously good reviews from the music press, as well as winning a Gramophone Award for their recording of MY FAIR LADY. The NSO have also performed a number of spectacular televised and recorded concerts, featuring the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of distinguished composer/conductors from the worlds of TV and Film, such as Barrington Pheloung, Anne Dudley, the late great Ron Goodwin and Debbie Wiseman.
Among the many stars with whom the National Symphony Orchestra has appeared are Reba McEntire and Sir Cliff Richard, have shared the stage in Hyde Park with Sir Elton John and have completed many very successful tours of Europe with a programme entitled ‘THE NATIONAL SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA PLAYS ABBA CLASSICS’. They have also backed the group Morcheeba for an album launch, appear in Stephen Fry’s film: BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS and were involved in filming the life of Cole Porter for MGM with Kevin Kline and Robbie Williams, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Diana Krall and many more luminaries from the world of popular music.
In February this year, the ladies of the NSO string section had the exciting experience of backing Kanye West, the iconic Black American rapper, at the Brit Awards, on Top of the Pops and for his sell-out UK tour. The NSO is very privileged to be the orchestra for all Katherine Jenkins major UK tours and is supporting the exciting new Scottish tenor, Nicky Spence for his first tour of Scotland in May and June this year.
The National Symphony Orchestra chooses its players not only for their musical talent and technical ability, but also for their desire to give of their best at all times and to enjoy doing it! This enthusiasm conveys itself very clearly to audiences, who always respond positively.